Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

News

Not Everyone With COVID-19 Wants To Talk To Contact Tracers

5f288fa3c338b200089a767b-eight.jpg
L.A. County has had mixed results with contact tracing. Only 65% of positive people are willing to provide information about their close contacts. (Courtesy L.A. County Department of Public Health)
LAist relies on your reader support.
Your tax-deductible gift today powers our reporters and keeps us independent. We rely on you, our reader, not paywalls to stay funded because we believe important news and information should be freely accessible to all.

Some people are embarrassed. Others fear for their jobs. Some just don’t trust the government.

That’s according to L.A. County health officials, who said today that just 65% of people who have COVID-19 are willing to be interviewed by county healthcare workers for the purpose of contact tracing.

Barbara Ferrer, the director of the county’s public health department, said that while contact tracing has worked well in other countries, here in Los Angeles the high case numbers make it hard to keep up. She said at today's news conference:

"South Korea never saw more than 1,000 positive cases in one day. We routinely see two to three times that volume, every single day and have for the last month."

Ferrer also noted a key difference between the U.S. and other countries: we don't guarantee income for people who need to isolate or quarantine. In countries that have that guarantee, that makes it much more likely that sick people will stay home -- and that people will be willing to talk to contact tracers.
Support for LAist comes from

To boost participation, the county began offering a $20 gift card this week to people who complete the contact tracing survey.

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.